How to Become a Firefighter in Ontario

How to Become a Firefighter in Ontario

To be a firefighter in the Province of Ontario, it is recommended that the candidate complete the Pre-Service Firefighter Program. In Ontario, the only entity with the authority to test for and to provide students with the required certification is the Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management. There may be other, non-accredited firefighter training available in Ontario, however, the Ontario Fire Marshal will not recognize their training.

The only firefighter programs which are designed to lead to National Fire Protection Association certification as approved by the Ontario Fire Marshal are provided by:

  • A local Fire Department;
  • Ontario Fire College;
  • A College of Applied Arts and Technology; or
  • A private career college registered by the Ontario Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development, and approved to deliver the Firefighter program.

Most cities and towns throughout Ontario have human resources departments responsible for the recruitment and selection of firefighters for the municipal fire service, however, the fire service may hire directly without the benefit of their human resources department. Although the Ontario Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management (OFMEM) does not recruit firefighters, we can offer you some tips and general information that you may find useful in pursuing a career as a firefighter. The fire service in Ontario utilizes volunteer, part-time and full-time firefighters, and recruits firefighters on a regular basis.

Although qualifications may vary, a hiring municipality or fire service may require that you:

  • Be legally entitled to work in Canada (i.e., a Canadian citizen, a landed immigrant or have a work permit)
  • Possess the prescribed visual requirements of 20/30 in each eye without corrective lenses and satisfactorily complete a colour vision test
  • Be educated to a minimum of Grade 12 level or equivalent
  • Be capable of handling intense and sustained physical effort
  • Successfully complete an aptitude test and interview
  • Hold and produce a valid Ontario driver's licence, and have a good driving record
  • Possess or obtain during the probationary period a Class “D” licence with a “Z” air brake endorsement
  • Understand and be able to communicate in English
  • Be willing to sign a waiver and/or a release form prior to participating in job-related performance tests
  • Pass a health and medical evaluation, and fitness assessment
  • Undergo timed, physically demanding job-related performance tests
  • Be certified in CPR/first aid

In addition you may be given aptitude tests designed to measure your:

  • Ability to understand written and verbal information and instructions
  • Technical and mechanical skills
  • Reading, reasoning and mathematical skills

Additional Educational Preparation

There are numerous candidates applying for firefighter positions with the full-time service throughout Ontario. As a result, candidates possessing qualifications including theory and basic firefighting skills have a better chance of being successful in the hiring process.

In order to provide this educational opportunity to potential candidates, many community and registered private career colleges throughout the province have established a Memorandum of Understanding with the OFMEM to deliver the Pre-Service Firefighter Program. (See Pre-Service Firefighter Program tab for more information)

Additional Information

If you want to find out which Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology are approved by the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development and the OFMEM to offer firefighter programs in Ontario which can lead to NFPA certification, please go to the following link:

https://www.ontariocolleges.ca/en/programs/fire-justice-and-security/firefighting-fire-systems